The Victorian Opposition’s plan to require 75% local content in renewable energy projects is a welcome acknowledgement that wind and solar projects drive regional jobs, but is no substitute for a strong renewable energy policy that provides long-term certainty, the Australian Wind Alliance said today.
While Victoria’s wind farms already employ hundreds of workers locally over 40% of the value of wind farm projects lies in turbines and blades which are not manufactured in Australia—primarily because years of policy uncertainty have kept manufacturers away.
“We’re very pleased to see Mr Guy’s Opposition recognise the potential of wind and solar to deliver cheaper energy and great jobs for regional Victoria,” said AWA National Coordinator, Andrew Bray.
“While it is no doubt important to have measures that wind farms deliver to the state of Victoria, the reality is that a higher percentage of local content in these projects requires a reliable pipeline of development.
“The crucial missing piece of the puzzle is a solid renewable energy policy, like the Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
“Without reliable policy, no company is going to invest in the new manufacturing facilities you need to employ hundreds of Victorians.
“If Matthew Guy sticks with his plan to axe the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, he ensures that large wind turbine components will not be manufactured in Victoria and announcements like this will be little more than gesture politics.
“Endless chopping and changing of renewable energy policy has been the greatest roadblock to local value-adding employment,” said Mr Bray.
Wind turbine company, Vestas, operated a wind turbine blade plant that employed 130 people in Portland until 2007. However, this plant closed down after only two and a half years because the Howard government strangled Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target.
“This is a resounding lesson in the importance of a strong and ambitious renewable energy policy that drives investment and jobs. Nothing else can replace that,” said Mr Bray.
For interviews, please contact Andrew Bray, National Coordinator, Australian Wind Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0434 769 463.
The Australian Wind Alliance is a community-based advocacy group of farmers, wind workers, small businesses and residents. We share a common vision of harnessing Australia’s world-class wind resources to power our homes, cities and industries with clean renewable energy.